›› Triple Standard
a short film by William Branden Blinn.
2010 | 20 mins | US.
starring: Lee Amir-Cohen / D, William Jennings / Crim, Ronnie Prouty / Stanley, Steve Alderfer / A B, Jay Ellis / Lewis, Dylan Mooney / Spike, Justen Naughten / Basketball Player 1, Michael Williams / Basketball Player 2, Jontae Vinson / Basketball Player 3, Ramall Goodrich / Basketball Player 4 and Jacob Hibbits as the Shower Boy.
Synopsis: "Presenting himself to the world as a macho, if bigoted man of sport, Crim; a successful basketball player and businessman is dependent on the lucrative endorsement deals that go hand-in-hand with his image, so as to help support his ex wife and children. Yet his image is a façade, as out of the public eye Crim returns home each night to the manly arms of his teammate D. Only his boyfriend's arms have not been so loving of late, given D has taken all he can of Crim's homophobic locker room comments. Determined to do whatever it takes to put an end to Crim's words of sexual hate, the stage is set for a showdown, one in which Crim must finally decide on whose side he's on?"
This is probably the most known of the gay short films from the prolific production house of writer and director William Branden Blinn, namely a filmmaker who has cut out the middle man and opted to distribute his works on his own VOD styled website / www.tbbmgondemand.com. Well not all of them, that is, given in the original uncut and slighted reworked for YouTube presentation outings, here WBB entertains the boys with this enticing sampler of what's on offer. And what is on offer is a poignant working of the to thy own self, be true scenario, as we encounter one man's self-made predicament of appearing straight to the outside world and in particular in the arena of sport.
The boy doth protest too much, in Triple Standard.
For it is the guise of heterosexuality that dominates this work, with Crim refusing the acknowledge his true sexual calling, considering himself straight, bi at most, in spite of his on-going three year relationship with D. Yet whilst the story is on the triple standard of Crim's sexuality, the narrative furtively misdirects your attention away from the issue of D; proud to say he's gay in the bedroom, yet in the locker room he remains conspicuously silent during the film's pivotal "the boy doth protest too much" opening scene, promoting the question of how publicly closeted or not D is with regard to his own sexuality?
That said and in terms of production values, standards are good, with fine use of light and shade throughout, even if some may end up a fraction disappointed that the naked dimensions of the locker room environment are not played with more homoerotic intensity. Then again, the emphasis here is on the story, one that finds William Jennings achingly real as the homophobe forced to face a sexual reality check, thanks to the "saying it with pride" speech from Lee Amir-Cohen in the role of D; aka Brad from the debut 2010 season of Steam Room Stories. That this perceptive short shines the spotlight on those who have contrasting, if not downright hypocritical public and private personas, goes without saying. Yet perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this piece, is that the narrative could so easily be reworked to detail the double / triple standards in other vocations, including the Hollywood closet itself and here the Max Clendaniel and Christian Martin short film Contracted immediately springs to mind. Thankfully times are indeed a-changing, with more and more sportsmen taking pride in their sexual openness, all of which makes this work a telling attestation to those who feel either financially or mentally compelled to remain in the sporting closet of life.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the brief monty.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.